We are finding out just how ineffectual the remedy is when norms are shattered.

Discussion in 'Political Opinions & Beliefs' started by Lee Atwater, May 25, 2024.

  1. Lee Atwater

    Lee Atwater Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    As it turned out, the system of guardrails guiding the behavior of a rogue prez were completely inadequate to hold him in check.

    Repairing the Rule of Law: An Agenda for Post-Trump Reform

    As the U.S. begins to see the light at the end of the Trumpian tunnel, it is time to begin thinking about the issue of repair. One should not assume the result of the election, but it is nonetheless worth asking the question: What should be done in a post-Trump world to restore the rule of law?

    Of Trump’s many excesses, his assault on legal norms has to rank high in terms of damage to fundamental values that form the fabric of America. His attacks on the free press, the independent judiciary and the independence of the Department of Justice have all created significant damage. His abuse of executive discretionary authority has made a mockery of the concept of checks and balances. His gaming of the judicial system has revealed weaknesses in our legal process. His attempts to place himself (and his family and his business interests) above the law have called into question foundational national conceptions of equal justice. In short, President Trump has led a wrecking crew (aided and abetted by William Barr and Mitch McConnell) that has severely damaged American legal norms of behavior.

    Trump’s attacks on foundational norms and principles leave policymakers with two choices. Lawmakers and voters can accept that damage and admit the inevitability of American decline, or they can fight to restore and strengthen the country’s legal guardrails. This post is an effort to begin that fight—to identify practical steps that the country can take to reinvigorate the rule of law and the concept of checks and balances.

    https://www.lawfaremedia.org/article/repairing-rule-law-agenda-post-trump-reform

    Precious little has been done regarding the agenda for reform. A fractious Congress and the energy draining endeavor of bringing Individual 1 to justice has taken care of that.

    Now we face another instance of previously unheard of behavior challenging the country's ability, and will, to do something about it.

    Dear Chief Justice Roberts:

    We write regarding recent New York Times reports that an upside-down American flag was displayed in Justice Samuel Alito’s yard in January 2021 and another flag associated with the January 6th attack on the Capitol was flown at another of Justice Alito’s residences in the summer of 2023.1 For the following reasons, we urge you to immediately take appropriate steps to ensure that Justice Alito will recuse himself in any cases related to the 2020 presidential election and January 6th attack on the Capitol, including the question of former President Trump’s immunity from prosecution for his role in the events of January 6th in Trump v. United States. We also renew our call for the Supreme Court to adopt an enforceable code of conduct for justices. And we request a meeting with you as soon as possible, in your capacity as Chief Justice and as presiding officer of the Judicial Conference of the United States, to discuss additional steps to address the Supreme Court’s ethics crisis.
    https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/legaldocs/znvnxeqkyvl/2024-05-23-Letter-to-CJ-Roberts.pdf

    It goes without saying Sam has disqualified himself from ruling on cases involving Trump's efforts to steal the 2020 election by overtly violating the cherished concept of the appearance of impartiality. A standard calling for justices to recuse themselves when they clearly are not impartial.

    But will he voluntarily do so? No. Will Chief Justice Roberts insist that he do so to preserve what little integrity the Court has left? No. Are there any mechanisms by which he can be forced to recuse himself? No.

    At times in the history of the country there has been a need to adjust the balance of power between the three branches of government. Lincoln assumed powers not constitutionally assigned to him during the crisis of the Civil War. FDR similarly tried to assume extra-constitutional powers due to the dual crises of the depression and WWII. The ethical scandals involving Ginni's husband brought to light the feckless lack of authority any entity has to police corrupt behavior by SC justices when they choose not to police themselves.

    Alito's brash, incontrovertible support for the Jan. 6 insurrection is the result of him feeling, with good reason, he can do such things without consequence. It's one thing for him to hold Trump's insipid MAGA motto in his heart and quite another for him to metaphorically appear in public with a MAGA hat on his head.

    Back in 2012 (before the age of Trump), I thought this grant of emergency authority was a wise decision, writing that “any President of either party should not be presumed to exercise powers granted in a dictatorial way.” And in the run-up to Trump’s election, I wondered if we could extend the same presumption to a putative President Trump.

    Today, the answer to that question seems obvious. The fundamental norm to presume a lack of malevolent intent is now in doubt. And that, in turn, means that the entire postwar architecture of federal power—congressional legislation backed by executive discretion—is also in doubt.
     
  2. Eclectic

    Eclectic Newly Registered

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    While the free press is guaranteed by the First Amendment, where are the "independent judiciary" and the "independence of the Department of Justice" specified in our founding documents.

    The constitution says little about the judiciary, but it does specify that the justices are nominated by the president with the consent of the Senate. This doesn't exactly sound like a non-partisan process.

    The Attorney General is similarly appointed and confirmed, whereafter the Attorney General reports to the President.

    While the judiciary was set up as a third co-equal branch of government, it is above the political fray only in that the appointments are for life.

    There isn't anything about the Department of Justice as sort of a fourth branch independent of the Executive.
     
  3. Lee Atwater

    Lee Atwater Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    A new report that a second flag carried by rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was flown outside Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s vacation home sparked fresh condemnation from Senate Democrats — and calls for them to do more to hold the court accountable while the party holds the majority.

    The “Appeal to Heaven” flag was spotted flying last summer outside Alito’s vacation house on Long Beach Island, N.J., the New York Times reported late Wednesday afternoon, citing three photographs, people who saw the flag and a Google street view image.

    [​IMG]
    The new report comes nearly a week after the Times reported and Alito confirmed that an upside-down American flag — which has become a symbol of the movement that falsely claims former president Donald Trump won the 2020 election — flew outside Alito’s home in Alexandria, Va. Alito told Fox News that his wife, Martha-Ann Alito, decided to fly the flag, not him.

    The Supreme Court is expected to hand down two decisions in coming weeks related to Jan. 6: one on whether defendants in Jan. 6 cases, including Trump, can be charged with obstructing an official proceeding and another on whether Trump is immune from prosecution for his actions.

    Note to mods. The pasted material above came from an email sent by the Wa Po so I don't have a link.
     
  4. garyd

    garyd Well-Known Member

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    All of which is BS. Both the US flag flown upside down and the pine tree flag also known as the peace flag have been used as long as the country has been in existence. The former is a distress symbol, quite apt in this day and age. The Pine Tree flag harkens back to John Locke. You might wish to make a note in the future to spend more time on history and less on propaganda.
     
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  5. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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  6. Patricio Da Silva

    Patricio Da Silva Well-Known Member Donor

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    It's sickening how MAGA and Trump and the GOP are destroying the country, but their criminality started long ago:

    indictments2.jpg
     
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  7. Wild Bill Kelsoe

    Wild Bill Kelsoe Well-Known Member

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    Segregation was the norm. White only drinking fountains were the norm. Are you sure we don't want to shatter the norms?
     
  8. Wild Bill Kelsoe

    Wild Bill Kelsoe Well-Known Member

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    Democracy, baby...lol
     
  9. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    Not to worry, once FJ Biden is out of office, he'll be held to account for his many crimes and abuse of his office.

    Have you noticed how fondly Americans recall the Golden Age of Trumpian Peace and Prosperity?

    upload_2024-5-26_15-33-38.png

    May polling with April tag to show direction.

    FJ Biden hasn't had an approval poll like this since he deliberately lost the war in Afghanistan.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2024
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  10. Patricio Da Silva

    Patricio Da Silva Well-Known Member Donor

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    Which was small part of the OP. Try addressing some of the other salient points.

    BTW, that upside down flag came on the back of 1/6, where on other one of his properties, the 'Appeal To Heaven flag, which was also carried at 1/6, which is now a symbol of the Christian nationalist movement,. His arrogance on the court is in keeping with Trumpism.

    No,, there is no 'locke' philosophy in his shenanigans, it's the stench of the MAGA movement sitting on the high court.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Bullseye

    Bullseye Well-Known Member

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    Does that apply to the properly carried national ensign in your picture. You lack logic and consistency.
     
  12. Patricio Da Silva

    Patricio Da Silva Well-Known Member Donor

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    You’ve entirely missed the point. The issue isn't about the proper display of the U.S. flag; it’s about the presence and implications of the "Appeal to Heaven" flag and the upside-down U.S. flag at Justice Alito’s properties. These flags aren’t just pieces of fabric—they’re potent symbols of protest and distress given the proximity of the attack on the capitol building, the deaths that it cause, the injury it caused. Someone of the caliber of a Supreme Court Justice has to know this, there is no excuse. When flown at the home of a Supreme Court Justice, they raise serious concerns about impartiality. The context here is paramount. The "Appeal to Heaven" flag and the upside-down U.S. flag have undeniable connections to the events of January 6th, and their display suggests a political stance that compromises the expected neutrality of a Supreme Court Justice. This isn’t about flag etiquette; it’s about the signals these displays send and the questions they raise about Alito’s ability to be unbiased. My argument (and that of Senator Durbin and Whitehouse) stands firm: these flags, given their meanings and associations, provide a substantial basis for questioning his impartiality in cases related to January 6th. Therefore your focus on the proper display of the national ensign is a diversion from the real issue at hand.

    Moreover, Senators Dick Durbin and Sheldon Whitehouse are actively addressing the issue of Supreme Court ethics. They have been vocal about the need for reform and have taken steps to increase transparency and accountability.

    Durbin, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Whitehouse have pushed for subpoenas to obtain information from Leonard Leo and Harlan Crow about their interactions with Supreme Court justices, including Alito. This effort is part of a broader investigation into potential ethical breaches and the influence of wealthy donors on the Court. They are advocating for the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act, which aims to impose stricter ethical standards on Supreme Court justices. This bill would require the justices to adhere to a code of conduct similar to that of other federal judges and mandate greater disclosure of gifts and other benefits they receive.

    Both Durbin and Whitehouse have emphasized the importance of holding the Supreme Court to the same ethical standards as other branches of government to maintain public trust in the judiciary. They argue that these reforms are necessary to ensure that justices cannot be unduly influenced by external interests.

    If Justice Jackson had flown a BLM flag, you'd have no problem, eh?

    If she had flown a BLM flag, I would have a problem with it, liberal or not, just as I had a problem with Blagojevich selling a US senate seat that was left vacant by Obama.

    So, why are you defending what is clearly indefensible?
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2024
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  13. Cybred

    Cybred Well-Known Member

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    No they aren't.
     
  14. Kal'Stang

    Kal'Stang Well-Known Member

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    Just a point here....You do realize that the DOJ is there because it is the Presidents job to enforce the law...right? And the DOJ's job is to enforce the law. As such it cannot be Independent.
     
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  15. Bullseye

    Bullseye Well-Known Member

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    Pure nonsense and irrelevant to the issue.


    Nonsense. Again there were more US flags waving than the inverted ensign.

    This issue at hand is the left's desperation and fear.
    they should actively address the ethics of their cohorts in congress.
    . Nope, it's exactly about carrying the flag. You guys entire argument is these flags were carried at 1/6 riot and were symbols of rebellion or insurrection, then you have to include all flags carried by "insurrectionists." Except both flag have long, historical semantics that have nothing to do with the nonsense you guys are desperately trying to invoke.

    Note: nice try on the Justice Jackson nonsense.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2024
  16. Patricio Da Silva

    Patricio Da Silva Well-Known Member Donor

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    You have a fundamental lack of historical knowledge of the Dept of Justice, it's history and tradition. Excuse me for being patronizing, but statements like that leave me no choice. So, for your edification:

    The concept of the Dept of Justice being independent from the executive branch, despite the Attorney General serving at the pleasure of the President, is deeply rooted in American constitutional and political history. This independence is essential for maintaining the rule of law and ensuring justice is administered impartially, without political influence.

    The foundation of DOJ independence lies in the principle of checks and balances established by the U.S. Constitution. While Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution mandates that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” this duty is not meant to allow for unchecked control over law enforcement. The President's oath of office, outlined in Article II, Section 1, Clause 8, also emphasizes the responsibility to “faithfully execute the Office of President” and to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” These constitutional requirements underpin the expectation that the DOJ operates independently to uphold the law.

    I express this because, in my 73 years, that's how I've learned how the DOJ works under the constitution and under the Presidency. I fear many have gotten the notion of 'serving at the pleasure of the President', to mean that the President can use the DOJ as his personal police force, to exact his will, to go after his political rivals willy nilly. It's simply not true. I fear that Trump believes this, and will use the DOJ as a tool for retribution when he gets in office, which, if he does, will result in chaos. Many have mistaken the relationship with Garland and Biden as, as Trump loves to say, 'It's all Biden' (though in NY, NY State has nothing to do with the executive branch, or does it have anything to do with Georgia). People forget that Garland really didn't want to prosecute Trump. For the first two years he did nothing, at considerable criticism of the left. It wasn't until the documents case that forced his hand.

    Historically, there have been numerous instances that underscore the importance of DOJ independence. One significant example is the Watergate scandal of the 1970s. When President Richard Nixon attempted to use the DOJ to shield himself from the investigation, Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resigned rather than obey Nixon's order to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox, illustrating a profound commitment to the rule of law over political allegiance. I am saddened that the Republicans of today simply lack the spine that they once had. The GOP has descended into a Trumpian madness, we've lost our way if that man is elected.

    Another notable instance is the tenure of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy under his brother, President John F. Kennedy. Despite their close personal relationship, Robert Kennedy took actions that sometimes conflicted with the administration's immediate political interests, (I can give you the history on this, if you request it) demonstrating the capacity for DOJ independence even under potentially compromising circumstances.

    The principle of DOJ independence is further reinforced by statutory safeguards and institutional norms. For instance, the establishment of the Special Counsel regulations after Watergate allows for the appointment of an independent investigator in cases where conflicts of interest may arise. These regulations are designed to ensure that even if the Attorney General is politically appointed, certain investigations can proceed with a degree of autonomy from the executive branch.

    Critics who argue that the DOJ cannot be independent often point to the political nature of the Attorney General's appointment. However, this view overlooks the structural and historical mechanisms that foster DOJ independence. For example, career DOJ attorneys, who operate under strict professional ethics rules, carry out much of the department's work. These professionals are insulated from political pressures, ensuring that legal decisions are based on law and evidence, not partisan considerations.

    Furthermore, public and congressional oversight play critical roles in maintaining DOJ independence. Congressional committees regularly review the department's activities, and the media and civil society organizations continually scrutinize its actions. This external oversight acts as a counterbalance to any potential executive overreach, helping to safeguard the DOJ's autonomy.

    So, all in all, while the Attorney General serves at the President's pleasure, the Department of Justice's independence is enshrined in the American constitutional framework and historical precedent. The interplay of institutional checks and balances, statutory protections, and professional ethics ensures that the DOJ can operate independently, administering justice without undue political influence. The notion that the DOJ cannot be independent is not only a misinterpretation of its design but also disregards the historical and functional realities that have long upheld its autonomy.

    And it has to be that way, lest we sink into a dictatorship. I know many on the right accuse Biden of this, but they are wrong as wrong can be. They can't see the facts, all the facts, and context, which refute this claim, because they can't see the world without a partisan lens obfuscating their view.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2024
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  17. garyd

    garyd Well-Known Member

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    Let me make it clearer. The unsalient points are nonsense. You have only the vaguest of suppositions and those are stretched very thin,
     
  18. Kal'Stang

    Kal'Stang Well-Known Member

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    And you have a decided lack of understanding of the President's job. And of realizing that the DOJ has NEVER been independent of the POTUS. All you're doing is spouting propaganda. For instance...who directs the DOJ on how to secure the border? To arrest only illegals that have committed "serious" crimes rather than all illegal aliens? The President. You really think those people that are career employees of the DOJ make those determinations? No. They don't. The President does.

    Like it or not, the DOJ is a part of the Executive Branch. And the POTUS does, and has since the foundation of this country, been in charge on executing the laws of this country. That is WHY that branch of the government is called the Executive Branch.
     
  19. Patricio Da Silva

    Patricio Da Silva Well-Known Member Donor

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    All flags? You mean the Confederate flags, hate symbols, white supremacist banners, and QAnon shirts as they descended into chaos death and destruction on the nation’s capital?

    Give me a break.

    Those flags may have had a history,. but they have been hijacked and are now symbols of MAGA and the Christian Right, when they are used with other white supremacist slogans, whether you like it or not.

    Fail. My post stands and is relevant and on point.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2024
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  20. Patricio Da Silva

    Patricio Da Silva Well-Known Member Donor

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    Your comment contains nothing of argumentative value.

    Doesn't rise about 'you're wrong', and all non substantive 'you're wrong' comments fail.

    Clear?
     
  21. Bullseye

    Bullseye Well-Known Member

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    nice try, but nope. Mindless exagrer


    . So then the national ensign must also be included.
    Nope. Your post is just the usual pretensious, partisan poop.
     
  22. Lee Atwater

    Lee Atwater Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I think Nixon was the first prez who undermined the public's faith, to become cynical, in the office of the presidency. Not to say he was the first corrupt prez. But he was the first in the modern era to abuse the office as he did. This was compounded by Ford's pardon. Followed soon after by Reagan and Iran-Contra. The esteem the presidency was held in was diminished.

    It isn't criminal acts in and of themselves that wears on, tears at the threads of the republic. It's the nature of the acts. Clinton lying because he was caught having an affair did not, IMO, do damage to the presidency and the public's attitude about the state of the country like Trump's failed coup did. Moreover, Trumpery is degrading the republic in ways other than criminal acts. It's not necessarily criminal to question the integrity of our elections. But one could argue the affect is even more destructive.
     
  23. Patricio Da Silva

    Patricio Da Silva Well-Known Member Donor

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    I never said it wasn't, so there is no reason for you to make such a point. My point goes to the idea that the President does NOT use the DOJ for a private and/or political agenda, such as directing the DOJ to go after rivals who have done nothing wrong. Say there are 4 Repubs who have committed crimes, and 4 Dems who committed crimes, the President cannot say 'only go after Repubs'. the point is, personal politics has nothing to do with the DOJ's interest in enforcing the law. IF the DOJ did do that, THEN the President would step in to make sure they are NOT doing that. The Presidents duty is to make sure they DOJ is doing it's job correctly, but he does not involve himself in day to day prosecutorial decisions. You're assuming I'm saying the President cannot use the DOJ to further the interests of the US. That is not a point I ever argued.
    Once again, not a point under dispute.

    You seem to misunderstand the President's role and the DOJ's independence. While it's true that the DOJ is part of the Executive Branch, there's a crucial distinction between policy direction and operational independence. The President sets broad policy, like prioritizing certain crimes or focusing on border security, but the DOJ's day-to-day law enforcement decisions are made by career professionals to avoid political interference.

    Consider historical instances where DOJ independence was paramount. Watergate, for example, led to reforms ensuring the DOJ operates free from direct political control. The Attorney General and career DOJ officials are meant to enforce laws impartially, not as instruments of the President's political agenda. The President can't direct specific investigations or prosecutions without undermining the rule of law.

    Your argument conflates policy guidance with direct control over legal proceedings. It's essential for maintaining justice that the DOJ can pursue cases based on legal merits, not political directives. This balance preserves the integrity of the justice system, preventing it from becoming a tool for political retribution or favoritism. The idea that the President should have direct control over the DOJ's prosecutorial decisions is contrary to the principles of justice and fairness that underpin the American legal system.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2024
  24. Patricio Da Silva

    Patricio Da Silva Well-Known Member Donor

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    No, going by the publicly available photographs, which are indisputable, my point is accurate.
    No, it doesn't. The national ensign, or the U.S. flag, cannot be hijacked as it represents the entire country and its ideals, regardless of the actions of specific groups or individuals who display it. The Confederate flag and the "Appeal to Heaven" flag, on the other hand, have specific historical and ideological connotations that have been more directly co-opted by certain movements, such as the MAGA movement and Christian nationalist right. The U.S. flag, while it may have been present at the riot, does not carry the same exclusive association with these movements and continues to symbolize the broader nation as a whole. Therefore, it is a logical error to equate the U.S. flag with the flags that have been more narrowly hijacked by specific political or ideological groups.
    Non substantive drivel, has no argumentative value.
     
  25. Patricio Da Silva

    Patricio Da Silva Well-Known Member Donor

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    Dems gave Clinton a pass because, but for a private affair, Congress shouldn't have even put him in a position where he lied to congress,, noting that, , as member of the male species, when it comes to the subject of sex, I can say with a modicum of authority that men, on the whole, would lie to God, Himself, let alone Congress, so I would cut him some slack, whereby this wasn't a case for impeachment, as it has nothing to do with his duties in office. Sleazy as hell, maybe worth a censure or two, but impeachment? Nah.

    yeah, it started with Nixon, watergate, Reagan, iran/contra, and now Trump, pick your scandal, there are so many.
     

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